William Lilly was the greatest practitioner of horary astrology. His Christian Astrology is the finest textbook available for the ancient art of horary and is available in both the 1647 1st edition & 1659 2nd editions on the Renaissance Astrology CD Library CD IV-Lots of Lilly as well as in the 1st edition in paperback, Christian Astrology Books 1 & 2 and Christian Astrology Book 3.
The Renaissance Astrology CD Library IV-Lots of Lilly also contains 50 other original works by and about William Lilly including almanacs and other works on mundane astrology, plus additional writing on horary and natal astrology. Finally I have provided online excerpts from Lilly's biography, History of My Life and Times which give a fascinating glimpse into his life and astrological practice. Here is a complete online version of Lilly's Biography.
You can read numerous excepts from Lilly's rules for various types of horary questions, including Lilly's Rules for Detecting Curses, Rules on Marriage, Rules for Childbirth, Money & Financial Rules and Lilly's Career Rules. You can also see actual horary questions, their charts, analyses and results using these rules including a Curse Detection Example Horary, Will I Get A Job? Example Horary, "He Got the Job!" Example Horary and a Relationship Example Horary .
At Renaissance Astrology you can have your own horary question answered by Christopher Warnock, Esq., a practicing traditional astrologer, using Lilly's methods, which provide precise and accurate predictions. Here is information about asking your own horary question. You can also learn how to become a horary astrologer with the Horary Astrology Course, an innovative online course which teaches the techniques of traditional astrology.
Excerpts from Lilly's History of My Life and Times
William Lilly was the foremost English astrologer of the 17th century. Born May 1, 1602 in Diseworth, Leicestershire, he began studying astrology in 1632. In 1641 he began a professional practice and soon became heavily involved with the Parliamentary side in the English Civil War. It was said that if King Charles I could have brought over Lilly he would have been worth a half a dozen regiments. Lilly published many astrological almanacs and in 1647 wrote Christian Astrology, the most definitive work on horary astrology ever written in English. He is perhaps most famous for predicting the Great Fire of London in 1666.
After the Restoration, Lilly was repeatedly investigated as a Parliamentary supporter, but managed to escape any serious consequences. He continued his thriving astrological practice and died on June 9, 1681.
make an Almanack, which to me then was strange: one speech begot another, till at last, he said, he could bring me acquainted with one Evans in Gunpowder-Alley, who had formerly lived in Staffordshire, that was an excellent wise man, and studied the Black Art. The same week after we went to Mr. Evans.
When we came to his house, he, having been drunk the night before, was upon his bed, if it be lawful to call that a bed whereon he then lay; he roused up himself, and, after some compliments, he was content to instruct me in astrology; I attended his best opportunities for seven or eight weeks, in which time I could set a figure perfectly: books he had not any, except Haly de judiciis Astrorum and Orriganus's Ephemerides ; so that as often as I entered his house, I thought I was in the wilderness.
Now something of the man: he
was by birth a Welshman, a Master of Arts, and in sacred orders; he had formerly had a cure of souls in Staffordshire, but now was come to try his fortunes at London, being in a manner enforced to fly for some offences very scandalous, committed by him in these parts, where he had lately lived; for he gave judgment upon thinrs lost, the only shame of astrology: he was the most saturnine person my eyes ever beheld, either before I practised or since ; of a middle stature, broad forehead, beetle-browed, thick shoulders, flat nosed, full lips, down-looked, black curling stiff hair, splay-footed; to give him his right, he had the most piercing judgment naturally upon a figure of theft, and many other questions, that I ever met withal; yet for money he would willingly give contrary judgments, was much addicted to debauchery, and then very abusive and quarrelsome
seldom without a black eye, or one mischief or other: this is the same Evans who made some many antimonial cups, upon the sale whereof he principally subsisted; he understood Latin very well, the Greek tongue not at all: he had some arts above, and beyond astrology, for he was well versed in the nature of spirits, and had many times used the circular way of invocating, as in the time of our familiarity he told me.
the deed of purchase from her friend; whereupon she applies herself to Evans, who, for a sum of money, promises to have her deed safely delivered into her own hands; the sum was forty pounds. Evans applies him-self to the invocation of the angel Salmon, of the nature of Mars, reads his Litany in the Common Prayer Book every day, at select hours, wears his surplice, lives orderly all that time; at the fortniglit's end Salmon appeared, and having received his commands what to do, in a small time returns with the very deed desired, lays it down gently upon a table where a white cloth was spread, and then, being dismissed, vanished. The deed was, by the gentleman who formerly kept it, placed among many other of his evidences in a large wooden chest, and in a chamber at one end of the house; but upon Salmon's removing and bringing away the
deed, all that bay Of building was quite blown down, and all his own proper evidences torn all to pieces.
The second story followeth. Some time before, I became acquainted with him, he then living in the Minories, was desired by the Lord Bothwell and Sir Kenelm Digby to show them a spirit. He promised so to do: the time came, and they were all in the body of the circle, when lo, upon a sudden, after some time of invocation, Evans was taken from out the room, and carried into the field near Battersea Causeway, close to the Thames. Next morning a countryman going by to his labour and espying a man in black cloaths, came unto him and awaked him, and asked him how he came there? Evans by this understood his condition, enquired where he was, how far from London, and in what parish he was; which when he understood, he told the labourer he had been
late at Battersea the night before, and by chance was left there by his friends. Sir Kenelm Digby and the Lord Bothwell went home without any harm came next day to hear what was become of him; just as they, in the afternoon, came into the house, a messenger came from Evans to his wife, to come to him at Battersea. I enquired upon what account the spirit carried him away: who said, he had not, at the time of invocation, made any suffumigation, at which the spirits were vexed.
It happened, that after I discerned what astrology was, I went weekly into Little Britain, and bought many books of astrology, not acquainting Evans therewith. Mr. A. Bedwell, Minister of Tottenham High Cross near London, who had been many years chaplain to Sir Henry Wotton, whilst he was Ambassador at Venice, and assisted Pietro Soave Polano, in composing
and writing, the Council of Trent, was lately dead; and his library being sold into Britain, I bought amongst them my choicest books of astrology. The occasion of our falling out was thus: a woman demanded the resolution of a question, which when he had done, she went her way; I standing by all the while, and observing the figure, asked him why he gave the judgment he did, since the signification shewed quite the contrary, and gave him my reasons; which when he had pondered, he called me boy, and must he be contradicted by such a novice! But when his heat was over, he said, had he not so judged to please the woman, she would have, given him nothing, and he had a wife and family to provide for; upon this we never came together after.
Being now very meanly introduced, I applied myself to study those books I had obtained, many times twelve, or
fifteen, or eighteen hours day and night; I was curious to discover, whether there was any verity in the art or not. Astrology in this time, viz. in 1633, was very rare in London, few professing it that understood any thing thereof. Let it not repent you (O noble Esquire) if now I make a short digression of such persons as then professed astrology, that posterity may understand in what condition I found it, and in whose hands that little that remained was lodged.
There lived then in Houndsditch one Alexander Hart, who had been a soldier formerly, a comely old man, of good aspect; he professed questionary astrology, and a little of physick; his greatest skill was to elect young gentlemen fit times to play at dice, that they might win or get money. I went unto him for resolutions for three questions at several times, and he erred in every one.
To speak soberly of him, he was but a cheat, as appeared suddenly after ; for a rustical fellow of the city, desirous of knowledge, contracted with Hart to assist for a conference with a spirit, and paid him twenty pounds of thirty pounds the contract. At, last, after many delays, and no spirit appearing, or money returned, the young man indicts him for a cheat at the Old Bailey in London; the Jury found the bill, and at the. hearing of the cause this jest happened some of the bench enquired what Hart did? "He sat like an Alderman in his gown," quoth the fellow; at which the court fell, into a great laughter, most of the court being Aldermen. He was to have been set upon the pillory for this cheat; but; John Taylour, the Water Poet, being his great friend, got the Lord Chief Justice Richardson to bail him, ere he stood upon the pillory, and so Hart fled presently
into Holland, where he ended his days. It was my fortune, upon the sale of his books in 1634, to buy Argoll's Primum Mobile for fourteen shillings, which I only wanted.
In Lambeth Marsh at the same time lived one Captain Bubb, who resolved horary questions astrologically; a proper handsome man, well spoken, but withal covetous, and of no honesty, as will appear, by this story, for which lie stood upon the pillory. A certain butcher was robbed, going to a fair, of forty pounds; he goes to Bubb, who for ten pounds in hand paid, would help him to the thief ; appoints the butcher such a night precisely, to watch at such a place, and the thief should come thither; commanded him by any means to stop him; the butcher attends according to direction. About twelve in the night there comes one riding very fiercely upon a full gallop, whom the butcher knocks
down, and seized both upon man and horse: the butcher brings the man and horse to the next town but then the person whom the butcher attacked was John the servant of Dr. Bubb; for which the Captain was indicted and suffered upon the pillory, and afterwards ended his days in great disgrace.
verified questions, and desired my approbation ere they went to press; that I first would see them, and then give testimony. When I had perused the first forty, I corrected thirty of them, would read over no more: I showed him how erroneous they were, desired his emendation of the rest, which he performed not. These were afterwards, in R. Saunders's custody, bought by him either of his son or of a stationer.
(Most honoured Sir); he pretended to poetry; and that posterity may have a taste of it, you shall have here inserted two verses of his own making; the occasion of making them was thus.
One Sir Thomas Jay, a Justice of the Peace in Rosemary-Lane, issued out his warrant for the apprehension of Poole, upon a pretended suggestion, that he was in company with some lewd people in a tavern, where a silver cup was lost, Anglice stolen. Poole, hearing of the warrant, packs up his little trunk of books, being all his library, and runs to Westminster; but hearing some months after that the Justice was dead and buried, he came and enquired where the grave was; and after the discharge of his belly upon the grave, left
these two verses upon it, which he swore he made himself
Who being dead, I upon his grave did shite.
He died about 1651, or 1652, at St. Mary Overy's in Southwark; and this was part of his last will. Item; I give to Dr. Ardee all my books, and one manuscript of my own, worth one hundred of'Lilly's Introduction.' Item; If Dr. Ardee give my wife any thing that is mine, I wish the devil may fetch him body and soul.' The Doctor, terrified with this curse, gave me all the books lid his goods which I presently gave to his widow. -Interdum seria jocis.
where he had lived, by the old Countess of Shrewsbury; he, was of moderate judgment, both in astrology and physick. He had formerly been well acquainted with Charles Sledd, an apothecary, who used the crystal, and had a very perfect sight. This Dr. Ardee hath many times affirmed unto me (esto fides) that an angel, one time, appeared unto him, and offered him a lease of his life for one thousand years; he died about the age of fourscore years; left his widow, who married into Kent, worth two or three thousand pounds, and William Poole's estate came to four or five pounds.
solar eclipse in the 19th degree of Aries 1663, taken out of Leovitius de magnis conjunctionibus, viz. On Reges et Principes &c. Both the King of Bohemia, and Gustavus King of Sweden, dying during the effects of that eclipse. John Booker was born in Manchester, of good parentage, in the year 1601; was in his youth well instructed in the Latin tongue, which he understood very well. He seemed from his infancy to be designed for astrology; for from the time he had any understanding, he would be always poring on, and studying almanacks. He came to London at fitting years, and served an apprenticeship to an haberdasher in Laurence-Lane, London; but either wanting stock to set up, or disliking the calling, he left his trade, and taught to write at Hadley in Middlesex several scholars in that school: he wrote singularly well both
Secretary and Roman. In process of time he served Sir Christopher Clethero, Knight, Alderman of London, as his clerk, being a city Justice of Peace: he also was clerk to Sir Hugh Hammersley, Alderman of London both which he served with great credit and estimation; and by that means became not only well known, but as well respected of the most eminent citizens of London, even to his dying day.
He was an excellent proficient in astrology, whose excellent verses upon the twelve months, framed according to the configurations of each month, being blessed with success according to his predictions, procured him much reputation all over England: he was a very honest man, abhorred any deceit in the art he studied; had a curious fancy in judging of thefts, and as successful in resolving love-questions: he was no mean proficient
in astronomy; he understood much of physick; was a great admirer of the antimonial cup; not unlearned in chymistry, which he loved well, but did not practise. He was inclined to a diabetes; and in the last three years of his life was afflicted with a dysentery, which at last consumed him to nothing: lie died of good fame in 1667. Since his decease I have seen one nativity of his performance exactly directed, and judged with as much learning as from astrology can be expected. His library of books came short of the world's approbation, and were by his widow sold to Elias Ashmole, Esq. who most generously gave her far more money than they were worth; but out of his respects unto the deceased and his memory, he most willingly
paid her the money. He left behind him two sons and two daughters. He left in writing very little but his annual prognostications. He began first to write about the year 1630; he wrote Bellum Hibernicale, in the time of the long parliament, a very sober and judicious book: the epistle thereunto I gave him. He wrote lately a small treatise of Easter-Day, a very learned thing, wherein he shewed much learning and reading. To say no more of him, he lived an honest man, his fame not questioned at his death.
academy, studying at home both astrology and physick, which he afterwards practised in Colchester; and there was well acquaint-ed with Dr. Gilbert, who wrote De Magnete. He came afterwards unto London, and exercised his faculty in several places thereof. (For in his youth he would never stay long in one house.) In 1633 he was sent for out of Suffolk by Dr. Winston of Gresham College, to instruct the Lord Treasurer Weston"s son in arithimetick, astronomy upon the globes, and their uses. He was a person very studious, laborious, of good apprehiension, and had by his own industry obtained both in astrology, physick, arithmetick, astronomy, geometry and algebra, singular judgment: he would in astrology resolve horary questions very soundly; but was ever diffident of his own abilities,: he was exquisitely skilful in the art of directions upon
nativities and had a good genius in performing judgment thereupon, but very unhappy he was, that he had no genius in teaching his scholars, for he never perfected any: his own son Matthew hath often told me, that where his father did teach any scholars in his time, they would principally learn of him; he had Scorpio ascending, and was secretly envious to those lie thought had more parts than himself; however, I must be ingenuous, and do affirm, that by frequent conversation with him I came to know which were the best authors, and much to enlarge my judgment, especially in the art of directions: he visited me most days once after I became acquainted with him, and would communicate his most doubtful questions unto me, and accept of my judgment therein rather than his own: he singularly well judged and directed Sir Robert Holborn's
nativity, but desired me to adjudge the first house, seventh and tenth thereof, which I did, and which nativity (since Sir Robert gave it me) came to your hands, and remains in your library; [oh learned Esquire !] lie died about the seventy-eighth year of his age, poor.
commit unto memory something concerning those persons who practised when first I became a student in astrology; I have wrote nothing concerning any of them, which I myself do not either know, or believe to be true.
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